Skip to main content

Full text of "Metalworking"

See other formats

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 


Make Projects 

build, hack, tweak, share, discover. 

The Multimachine $150, 12" 
Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Written By: Pat Delany 


$10 dial test indicator (1) 

A hand or electric drill (we have plans 
for a $5 drill that will work) (1) 

Mechanic's hand tools (1) 


Scrap, pipe, concrete mix and a very 
small amount of welding. (1) 


The Lucien Yeomans "secret" that was almost lost. 

Your developing world school needs almost-free machine tools? 

Your developing world factory needs unavailable spare parts? 

You need a complex part that is too expensive to have made? 

Need to bootstrap a factory but only have a few bucks? 

No problem! 

You just need a metalworking lathe. Metal working lathes are necessary to the production of 
almost everything but are very expensive. In 1915, special lathes made from concrete were 
developed to quickly and cheaply produce millions of cannon shells needed for World War I. 
Lucien Yeomans, the inventor, won the nation's highest engineering award for it but sadly the 

© Make Projects 

Page 1 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

technique was almost forgotten after the war. We re-discovered it as a way to quickly make 
inexpensive but accurate machine tools for use in developing countries and in trade schools 
and shops everywhere. We made modern construction practical by replacing the original 
poured, non shrinking metal with cement grout. 


Design by Pat Delany, 

Drawings by Tyler Disney, 

Research by Shannon DeWolfe and David LeVine. Shannon found Yeomans after I had 
searched for years. 

Dimensioned drawings and support at: . 

Many supporting files are at: .. 

The best machine tool reference site in the world is at: 

© Make Projects Page 2 of 1 1 4 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 1 — The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

• Open source, bottom-up 
development for emerging 

• Making machine tools accessible 
to the developing world with a 
concrete lathe that can be easily 
and inexpensively built. The 
machine tools that fueled the 
Industrial Revolution in the 
Western World have become too 
expensive to be used in the places 
that most need small industries 
now. This concrete lathe design 
can change that. 

• It can be built by a good mechanic 
using scrap, steel bar and 
concrete. Builders need only 
common mechanic's tools, a drill, 
inexpensive measuring devices 
and to get a few small welds done. 
It is easily converted to drilling and 
horizontal and end mill operations. 

• Lathe cost is determined by the 
size of the machine you build and 
the kinds of good junk you have 

© Make Projects 

Page 3 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 2 

• Many people will not know what 
this machine is so...Metalworking 
lathes are a large class of lathes 
designed for precisely machining 
relatively hard materials. They 
were originally designed to 
machine metals; however, with the 
advent of plastics and other 
materials, and with their inherent 
versatility, they are used in a wide 
range of applications 

Simply put, they are used to make 
almost everything that is round and 
they also are used to make the 
rollers that are used to make 
almost everything that is flat. 

• Ours COULD be made in a size 
that would dwarf this 1500 kg. 

© Make Projects 

Page 4 of 114 

The Multi machine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 3 

© Make Projects Page 5 of 1 1 4 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

• Our idea started with this. What 
Lucien Yeomans did in 1915 (and 
we do) is very simple. It is well 
known that concrete shrinks as it 
sets up. We allow the concrete 
"bed" to shrink first then insert the 
steel parts and hold them in place 
with a non-shrinking material. 

• Our lathe design is similar to a 
typical 250kg 225mm swing (chuck 
capacity) lathe. Our lathe can be 
mounted with a common 100mm 
angle grinder that can be used to 
re-surface vehicle clutches and 
brakes. Ours was specifically 
designed to be transportable so it 
could be taken to Maker Faires and 
yet would also be highly useful in 

• IMPORTANT! On a larger version, 
the head stock and foot of the lathe 
should be enlarged and the lathe 
bed (base) should be made at least 
150mm thick. 

• I would personally recommend that 
if you have the room, a lathe of 
300mm between way centers 
should be considered. This extra 
width would provide room for 
inexpensive tooling that would 
allow the lathe to do work that few 
(if any) other lathes could do. 

• A larger lathe would be even easier 
to build because there would be 
more room for components. 

© Make Projects 

Page 6 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 4 

• Quite simple! Construction is 
really just a series of simple steps 
that are meant to be doable in 
primitive conditions. 

• Steel can come from your scrap 
pile or bought in easily available 
standard sizes. 

© Make Projects 

Page 7 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 5 





• Every part of our lathe can be 
replaced as parts wear or as 
improvements are needed. 

• The all-thread type lead screws 
can be replaced by the Acme or 
ball screw types. 

• Spindle bushings can be replaced 
by ball or roller bearings. 

• The carriage can be replaced with 
special milling or boring types. 

• A compound slide (a swiveling top 
slide) can (and should) be added. 

• Electronic lead screw or change 
gear type threading could replace 
the simple "thread follower" type. 

• Steady and follow-rests can be be 
added, as can a turret or powered 

• The box type cross slide can be 
replaced by a dovetail type 
machined on the lathe itself. 

© Make Projects 

Page 8 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 6 

• Our goal is not to build the best 
tool, but one that will work with 
reasonable accuracy and that can 
be built by a skilled mechanic using 
common tools and at the absolute 
lowest cost. 

• This is my personal humanitarian 
effort. I designed the lathe as a 
combination of simple ideas or 
long-proven technologies. For more 
information about my projects 
contact me at 

• Technologies that I use besides the 
Yeomans concrete technique. 

• The cartridge, bushing type spindle 

• Carriage mounting shoes that are 
connected only by concrete. 

• Supported round ways. 

• Thread-follower threading with 
wood or plastic clamp jaws that 
close on a rotating thread that is to 
be duplicated. 

• On larger lathes, the carriage is 
held down by weight only. This 
technique is almost 200 years old. 

© Make Projects 

Page 9 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 7 

• Just a few extra sacks of concrete 
are needed to make a taller 
headstock, carriage and tailstock. 
It will let you do jobs few other 
machines can do. One example is 
the ability to resurface large truck 
brakes and clutches. 

• Such a machine may look a little 
strange but can still be used as a 
regular screw-cutting lathe. 

• BUT.. .Even though increasing the 
size of a lathe so that it can 
machine large brake drums may 
take only a few extra sacks of 
concrete mix, the concrete needed 
for a general-purpose lathe this 
size will be measured in tons! 

• This may be confusing, but 
resurfacing a large iron disk takes 
far less power and rigidity than 
having to take deep cuts in a large 
piece of steel. 

© Make Projects 

Page 10 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 8 

A simple powered auxiliary spindle accessory will let 
you make an extremely complex part like this without 
using additional machine tools, chucks or vises. 

• Machine accessories like these 
often cost much more than than the 
lathe itself. It does take extra room 
at the side of the chuck but this is 
easy to get on our lathe just by 
making the bed wider. 

• More about this at the end of this 
guide but you will have to admit 
that it is pretty cool to be able to 
have a machine tool that costs 
98% less than others and that can 
machine both a huge brake drum 
and also make a part as complex 
as this without needing additional, 
very expensive, equipment. 

© Make Projects 

Page 11 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 9 

• We use the Yeomans technique but 
replace the poured metal filler with 
easily available, non-shrinking 
cement grout. We use grout or 
concrete to mount and fit every 
part of the lathe. 

• Fitting the ways to the bed. 

• Fitting the "shoes" to the ways and 
the central part of the carriage and 
then locking them together. 

• Fitting the cross slide to the 

• Fitting the tail stock to the ways. 

• Fitting the Morse Taper socket in 
the tail stock. 

• Fitting the spindle cartridge to the 

• Fitting the thread follower spindle 
cartridge in the head stock. 

© Make Projects 

Page 12 of 114 

The Multi machine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 10 

© Make Projects Page 1 3 of 1 1 4 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 



• 2 pieces of round, straight steel 
pipe or bar for the "ways" (the 
round shiny things that the carriage 
slides on). ACCURATE WAYS 
careful when you select them. 
Good pieces of carefully aligned 
railroad track could be used on 
larger lathes. 

• Steel bar for the cross slide. 

• Scrap pieces of angle iron and pipe 
for the spindle cartridge, carriage 
"shoes" and supports for the ways. 

• Junked pistons to be melted and 
cast into adapters, bushings or 
bearing housings. Casting simple 
shapes is very easy and gives the 
machine builder the ability to make 
thousands of different, useful 
devices and products. 

• Concrete mix, re-bar, fiber additive 
for concrete, non-shrinking grout. 

• These are the kinds of materials 
needed to build a 300mm swing 
(maximum length that would fit on 
the faceplate) screwcutting lathe 
that would fit on a workbench. A 
desktop lathe half this size could 
also be built. Our optimal "shop 
size" lathe would have ways 
300mm (centers) apart, swing of 
450 mm and would weigh at least a 
thousand kg. 

• The length, diameter and width of 
the ways are the determining factor 
in the size of the lathe you build. 

© Make Projects 

Page 14 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

A lathe the size of a railroad car 
could be built using the same basic 

Step 11 

• Steel for the ways will probably 
require a careful search. Needed 
are (2) 40mm (or larger) x 2 meter 
(approx) very straight steel rods or 
pipes (scrap hydraulic cylinder 
piston rods?) Check them for 
straightness by putting the round 
bars or pipe side by side and 
shining a bright light between them 
as you first rotate one, then the 

• A known-good lathe could be used 
to turn or grind the ways round and 
straight. If you do have ways 
turned, be sure to check the ways 
very carefully afterwards because 
machining a long piece to an 
accurate diameter can be difficult. 

• Imperfect ways probably could be 
slowly corrected by the "3 rounds" 
method that can be found here . The 
method has not been tested on pipe 
this large. The 3 rounds method is 
similar to the centuries-old 3 flats 
method of truing flat surfaces. 

• Pipe ways should be filled with 
grout before final adjustments. 

© Make Projects 

Page 15 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 12 

• The cross slide can be made using 
3 pieces of steel of different widths 
or built in a more simple version 
that requires steel of only one width 
(150mm by 19mm). The 3-piece 
design is superior because wear is 
easily adjusted for but it may 
require cutting a piece of heavy 
plate to a more narrow width, a 
difficult job for many. 

• Finding used steel bars may be 
difficult. Whatever your source of 
bar, be certain that the ends have 
been sawed and not sheared. 
Shearing distorts the bar ends. 

• A more simple way of building the 
slide will be shown on slide 79 
(around there). New approaches, 
options and time and material 
saving ideas are constantly sought 
after and added as found. This 
project is alive and growing 

© Make Projects 

Page 16 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 13 

Scrap pipe, pistons and 
angle iron 

• Besides the pipe and bar, a few 
shorter pieces of steel angle iron 
and pipe will be needed. The sizes 
of these shorter pieces depend on 
the size of the machine. 

• Used pistons are a source of 
castable metal for bushings and 
adapters. Piston metal is an easily 
available alloy has been proven 
durable and non-scuffing in cast 
iron engine cylinders. Casting 
metal is a growing hobby in the US 
and may be much more common in 
developing countries. In some 
areas it is even common to have 
aluminum cookware re-cast. 

© Make Projects 

Page 17 of 114 

The Multi machine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 14 

© Make Projects Page 1 8 of 1 1 4 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Construction and 
alignment sequence of 

• Building the wooden form and 
casting the concrete bed comes 
first. This is not complicated and a 
good tutorial for this is a "Make a 
concrete counter top" type of book 
available in home improvement 

• Next, select, install and align the 
ways. A carefully held spacer can 
be used to set the distance 
between the ways. A piece of float 
glass plate can be used to put the 
ways in the same plane. A ball 
bearing placed on the plate glass 
can be used to determine if the 
ways are level enough for our use. 

• Making the carriage "shoes" (the 
parts of the carriage that actually 
slide on the ways) and firmly 
clamping them over the ways 
comes next because the wooden 
form for the concrete carriage is 
bolted to and then built around 
them. Firmly clamping the carriage 
shoes to the ways before pouring 
the carriage concrete aligns it. 

• Fit the form for the carriage around 
the shoes and pour the concrete 
and let it season. 

• If no wood or metal lathe is 
available, make a temporary lathe 
out of an auto wheel hub assembly 
mounted on the headstock and use 
it to machine spindle bushings or 
ball or roller bearing adapters. 

• Later, mount the hub and brake 
assembly on the rear of the 

© Make Projects 

Page 19 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

headstock and use it as a spindle 
brake. You will have to machine an 
adapter to fit the drum to the lathe 

Step 15 

Construction and 
alignment sequence of 
operations (more) 

• Make the spindle cartridge 
assembly from 2 pieces of pipe 
with simple cast bushings used 
between them, clamp it in place 
and align it with a dial indicator 
mounted on the carriage. Measure 
from the left, right and center of the 
carriage. Pour grout through the 
holes in the top of the headstock to 
lock the spindle assembly in place. 

• Mount a square or a dial test 
indicator on the spindle and use it 
to align the cross slide. 

• The tailstock is made in the same 
way as the carriage (though in a 
different shape!). A Morse Taper 
drill bit held in the spindle can be 
used to align the Morse Taper 
socket in the tailstock. 

• Add the smaller parts like the lead 
screw and handwheel mechanism, 
pulleys, motor, thread follower and 
tool post. 

© Make Projects 

Page 20 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 16 

• If the order of these construction 
steps occasionally seems 
confusing or subjects repeated it is 
because changes are made almost 

• I'm sorry, I just cannot write a 
correct sentence. As soon as 
someone else corrects my errors I 
change things and screw the 
sentence up again. 

• The Project format was not 
designed for a project so large and 
complex as this. There really 
needs to be room and structure for 
a lot of if, then, else kinds of 
statements since the lathe can be 
built from "found" junk and in sizes 
up to 20 or more tons. There are 
"steps" (cutting tools) here that 
should be covered in hundreds of 
their own steps. 

• The order of the "bullets" may 
make no sense to you (or me) but 
there is no way to insert a bullet in 
a series of bullets. When I add 
something, it has to go on the end 
unless I re-do the whole step which 
is hard for me to do since I cannot 
type. Pat 

© Make Projects 

Page 21 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 17 

Help the project! 

• If you or people you know are 
interested in international 
development, tell them about this. 
Please let me know if you do. 

• If you build one, please take lots of 
pics for us. 

• But mostly I want your comments 
and suggestions. Send them to 

Step 18 

Want to learn about features 
in historic lathe designs that 
could be appropriate for use 
in current developing world 

• Here is a link to a digitized copy of 
Modern American Lathe Practice, 
printed in 1907. The file is large 
and will likely take a while to load. 

• This was written during the era of 
high speed steel cutting tools but 
before the time of tool stores, 
silicon carbide and commercially 
available coolants. Just the right 
period for someone who needs to 
machine steel but cannot buy 
expensive tooling. 

© Make Projects 

Page 22 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 19 

Really thinking about 
building one? 

Your first, most important task is to 
study the historical documents that 
describe the Yeomans machine. Only 
then can you understand the current 

• Refer to our concrete lathe website 
for more information about the 

• The main Yeomans patent and the 
two magazine articles about his 
lathe are near the top of the page. 
If you don't study every word you 
are likely to make serious 

• Builders often want to change the 
designs of things they build. I hope 
you will really try to understand 
why I have things in a certain way 
before you make changes. Write 
me at to talk 
questionable points over. 

Step 20 

Lets get started! 

Building the concrete form 
for the lathe bed comes first 

• Rule#1 is to PAY INFINITE 
don't, errors will compound and you 
will end up with an expensive boat 

• Build a mock-up first (especially of 
the carriage). Know the source of 
every bolt, nut and nail. Don't make 
a stupid mistake with something 
that is this big and heavy. 


© Make Projects 

Page 23 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 21 

• The completed form will look like 

angles in concrete castings are 
usually not a good idea. When 
we are able to update these 
drawings we will show fillets in 
place of sharp angles. 

Step 22 

• First one in rural Kenya! Jeremmy 
Awori is using coffin wood for the 

© Make Projects 

Page 24 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 23 


• Jeremmy's coffin shop is our first 
Kenyan machine tool factory. 

• I take this guy very seriously! Most 
people fail at using Google 
Sketchup. Jeremmy started 
sending me good drawings in just 1 
day! He has his choice of four good 
internet connections while I have 
one that works just most of the 

Step 24 

• Start with a simple box. 

© Make Projects 

Page 25 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 25 

• Close up the base! 

Step 26 

• Add the sides. 

© Make Projects 

Page 26 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 27 

• Bend the re-bar. 

Step 28 

• Fit the re-bar into the form. 

© Make Projects 

Page 27 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 29 


O o o 


• The bottom part of the inner 
pieces should be made at a 45° 
angle to eliminate the sharp right 
angles between the headstock 
and foot to the base. This will be 
shown in subsequent drawings. 

• Insert the end pieces into the form. 

Step 30 



./""' ; ^x^#-T 

• Like this. 

© Make Projects 

Page 28 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 31 

• Detail of inserted plastic tubes and 
bolts. The vertical tubes must be 
large enough to pour grout through 

Step 32 

• Pour the concrete, embed the way 
stabilizer bolts and then add the 
concrete needed here. The way 
stabilizer base shown here should 
actually extend the full length of the 
bed except for a gap that will be 
used as a coolant drain and to 
remove chips. 

© Make Projects 

Page 29 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 33 

• The concrete lathe "bed.' 

Step 34 

• Attach the way adjusters. They can 
be cut from scrap angle iron that 
could be tapped for adjusting bolts. 
Locknuts should be added. If 
necessary, the adjusters could be 
replaced with hardwood wedges but 
accurate way adjustments would 
be much more difficult. 

• After the non-shrinking grout is 
poured in the way cavities and has 
time to set up, the adjusters can be 
removed and used to make other 

© Make Projects 

Page 30 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 35 

• If you want your lathe to be as 
accurate as possible, these 
adjustment brackets should be as 
big and strong as will fit. The lathe 
can then be run, tested and 
adjusted before the grout is poured. 
The brackets can be removed after 
that but remember to work very 
gently until the ways are grouted in. 

Step 36 

• The Ways: The ways are the most 
critical component of an accurate 
lathe. Selection of the steel and 
accurate alignment are all- 
important. Yeomans' lathe used 
specially ground and hardened 
round bars that would probably be 
too expensive for our lathe. 

• Pipe, round bar and hydraulic 
piston rods come in a great variety. 
All must be checked for 
straightness. A good way to do this 
is to put the 2 pieces side by side, 
rotate one while pressed against 
the other and use a feeler gauge or 
bright light from behind to check for 
a gap. 

© Make Projects 

Page 31 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 37 

• The way ends are very tightly 
wrapped in greased sheet metal so 
that the ways can later be rotated 
(large pipe wrench with padded 
jaws?) to unworn areas if 
necessary. The sheet metal should 
be tightly kept in place by wire or 
hose clamps. 

Step 38 

• Strong support under the ways 
makes the use of round ways 

• The angle iron and bar stock 
should be the heaviest that will fit. 

© Make Projects 

Page 32 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 39 

• Round ways are used here 
because they can be more easily 
and accurately made than other 
possible choices. However, they 
must be supported from below to 
avoid sag and vibration. 

Step 40 

• Insert the ways and lightly clamp in 
place. The supports under the 
ways are made from angle iron and 
steel bar. A longer lathe 
(recommended) should have full 
length way support. Round lathe 
ways will both sag and vibrate but 
a rigid support like this is a simple 

© Make Projects 

Page 33 of 114 

The Multi machine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 41 

• Start with a square-edged way 
support and once the lathe is 
running use a flycutter to machine 
a heavier (1/2", 12mm or larger) 
bar to fit the radius of the way. The 
inner edge of the support bar 
should be at the center of the way. 
Even heavier supports could be 
especially useful near the chuck 
where the heaviest cuts will most 
likely be made. 

• If the carriage is is heavy enough 
(75kg ?), there is less danger of 
the carriage being lifted by knurling 
operations or an improperly 
adjusted cutting tool, and a 
carriage clamp may not even be 

• A thicker (way radius-shaped 
25mm?) way support may be 
needed to handle high horizontal 
cutting forces in the area close to 
the chuck. The location of the 
vertical way support bolts should 
be laid out with this in mind. 

© Make Projects 

Page 34 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 42 

• Some makers will not have a 
factory full of alignment frames. 

Step 43 

9 <*% ^ 


• And they may be working all by 

© Make Projects 

Page 35 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 44 

A way of aligning 
without factory 
fixtures was vital! 

• Great care must be taken in 
aligning the ways but the process 
is actually quite simple. A 
machinist-type level will make 
alignment much easier (this is a $68 model, a great 
bargain) but you can do without one 
if necessary. 

• Use a carpenter's level to set the 
ways as level as possible. Use a 
spacer between the ways to 
accurately set the separation 
between the ways. This spacer 
must be kept level, at the center 
and at exact right angles to the 
ways. Make a bracket to hold the 
spacer in a consistent position. 

• If possible use a dial indicator 
mounted on this bracket to 
measure way separation instead of 
relying on the "feel" of how the 
spacer fits between the ways. 

© Make Projects 

Page 36 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 45 

• Consider the thickness of a thin 
piece of paper as an accuracy 
goal. Use a thick, square piece of 
plate glass (float glass is best) laid 
across the ways to check (with a 
feeler gauge) for even contact on 
all 4 corners. Rotate the glass and 
check again (the glass plate may 
not be perfectly flat). 

• Move the glass plate from one end 
of the ways to the other to make 
certain everything is correct. 
Adjust the way supports for even 
contact under the ways. 

• After the under the way supports 
are adjusted and tightened, repeat 
the alignment tests. 

Step 46 

The carriage and cross slide 

• Really, the heart of the machine. 

© Make Projects 

Page 37 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 47 

Not a lot of 


• The Yeomans lathe carriage was 
specially designed to make it easy 
for relatively unskilled workers to 
make accurate cannon projectiles 

• Our carriage design is completely 

Step 48 

• A conventional (South Bend) lathe 
carriage. Note the inner set of 
ways that are used for the 

• I had to make changes for our lathe 
in order to use just two round ways 
and still be able to to get a tool 
mounted in the tailstock to easily 
reach a workpiece held in the 

• I also wanted to make the carriage 
1 .5 to 2 times as long as it is wide. 
This "standard" has been common 
for nearly two hundred years and is 
done to keep the carriage from 
"cocking" as it is moved under 

• I think slowly and the solution was 
a long time coming (next step) 

© Make Projects 

Page 38 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 49 

NOTE. The carriage shoes (parts 
that actually slide on the ways) 
should be at least as 1.5 times as 
long as the distance between the 
centers of the ways. Since there is 
no room for them at the rear 
because of the tailstock, they must 
extend forward along the sides of 
the headstock. These enlarged 
holes provide room. 

The enlarged parts of the holes 
should be made long enough 
(150+mm?) for maximum carriage 

© Make Projects 

Page 39 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 50 

Carriage and||p. 


cross slide TTJ 

XX o 

• The cross slide can be made in 
several different ways. The method 
shown requires steel plate in 3 
different widths which may be hard 
to find in the developing world. An 
alternate way would be to invert the 
clamping device. Only 2 pieces of 
the steel the same width would 
then be needed but care would 
have to be taken to keep the 
exposed sliding part 

• An accurately built carriage is 
critical to lathe accuracy and will 
take thought and care in 
construction. I suggest you study 
this section extremely carefully so 
that you will be able to adapt 
components to the sizes of low- 
cost materials that are available to 

© Make Projects 

Page 40 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 51 

• Using a pre-cast, seasoned 
concrete bed is critical to the 
project and SO is the steel frame 
for the carriage. 

• Most machine builders would 
find it almost impossible to build 
a welded or bolted carriage 
frame that would have the vital, 
even contact on all 4 corners. We 
avoid the problem by making the 
frame in 2 pieces, clamping them 
to the ways, and then using 
concrete to fix the 2 sides in 
place permanently. 

• When the carriage is cast, the 
concrete links the two pre- 
aligned sides together. A simple 
solution to an extremely hard to 
solve problem. 

© Make Projects 

Page 41 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 52 

• How everything goes together. 

• Every fit is critical; however, if 
things turn out poorly you can just 
make a better carriage and swap it 

• As long as the ways are accurately 
made and aligned, everything else 
is made to be improved upon once 
the machine runs and has been 
well tested. 

• Wei I.... for that matter the grout that 
retains the ways could be chiseled 
out and the ways adjusted or 
replaced if it proves necessary. 

Step 53 

The cross slide lead screw could 
be either on the leading or trailing 
edge of the cross slide. If on the 
leading edge it is closer to the 
center of cutting forces (good) and 
more susceptible to chips from 
machining (bad). If used in the 
leading-edge position, it should 
have some kind of an easily 
removable cover over it. 

© Make Projects 

Page 42 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 54 


3 1 


s d 















_k C 
03 = 

I' = 




. x&te 

L i 

<D <]D <D 










"" 3 ii 1 *" 


• Top view. 

• Actual dimensions are better seen 
in Multimachine Concrete Lathe 
11.27.11 ver. 1.10.pdf . 

Step 55 

• The bolts that hold the top slide 
down must be very strong (use 
cylinder head studs?) and should 
be welded to bars embedded 
deeper in the concrete than is 

© Make Projects 

Page 43 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 56 

• The round ways are supported by a 
bar that is slightly off center so that 
there will be room for a carriage 
clamping device. 

• Since a flat surface can only 
contact a round surface in a very 
small area, We take advantage of 
this fact by using just the edges of 
two flat surfaces to support the 
ways and to hold the carriage in 
place. Normally cutting forces are 
downwards but knurling or a poorly 
adjusted cutting tool my force the 
carriage up. 

Step 57 

On a carriage for a lathe with 
shorter ways space-saving 
techniques must be used. These 
clamp bolts fit into notches cast 
into the carriage. A longer carriage 
will be easier to make because the 
clamps can be external and the 
inner parts not so crowded 

© Make Projects 

Page 44 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 58 

• The way support bars and the 
carriage clamps meet at the center 
of the ways. The way support bar 
should actually be shown as a 
heavy vertical support bolted to a 
piece of angle iron. 

• The carriage is, in effect, pre- 
aligned. The two shoes are first 
leveled and then firmly clamped to 
the ways. They are not 
mechanically connected until 
concrete is poured into the form so 
that it connects the shoes on each 
side. Any slight distortion from 
concrete shrinkage can be adjusted 
for by putting shims between the 
shoe and the bushings. The 
bushings should then be lightly 
epoxied in place. 

© Make Projects 

Page 45 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 59 

r ■■-, 





. r'' 



• ' ** 

f r 


• The width of the carriage is 
determined by the space between 
the shoes and that is determined 
by the diameter of the pipe used for 
the shoes and the distance 
between the ways. It is very 
important that length of the shoe 
should be between 1 .5 and 2 times 
the distance between the way 

• The headstock has oversize 
cavities so that long shoes can 
slide inside if this proves 
necessary to keep the optimal 
carriage length/width ratio. Just 
extend the shoes past the clamp 
mounting tabs and adjust the length 
of the grouted areas in the 
headstock so that the longer shoes 
will slide inside the headstock. 

© Make Projects 

Page 46 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 60 

• These replaceable bushings are 
lightly held in place by a small spot 
of epoxy. 

© Make Projects 

Page 47 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 61 

• Carriage frame and shoes. Shoes 
are split pieces of heavy-wall pipe. 
The inside diameter of the pipe 
should be about 12mm to 25mm 
larger than the outside diameter of 
the way. The bushings will take up 
this space and could be made from 
cast iron, bronze or piston metal 
alloy. The holes in the tabs are 
used to mount the clamps. 

• The placement of the drilled tabs 
and pieces of re-bar depend on the 
size of lathe. Adding a foot to the 
bed length will allow both a longer 
carriage and a longer tail stock 
base. A longer carriage and 
tailstock will let you spread out the 
tabs and re-bar. The re-bar should 
be covered by at least an inch of 
concrete all around. 

© Make Projects 

Page 48 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 62 

• Tab placement again. The safest 
way to determine tab placement is 
to actually model the shoes on the 
ways. The rear tabs will probably 
be much closer to the end of the 
shoes than is shown in the 
drawing, because they will probably 
have to extend past the handwheel 
mechanism, (model it!) 

Step 63 

• Where the welded re-bar pieces fit 
into the concrete. 

• You can see here that the internal 
clamps (needed on a short bed 
lathe) cause a little crowding. 

© Make Projects 

Page 49 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 64 

• Build the wooden form for the 
carriage before the way clamps are 
attached. Use the clamp mounting 
tabs to support the carriage (and 
tailstock) form. 

Step 65 

• Cast the concrete over the surface 
of the shoe in this area. 

• Start the sides of the form at the 
bottom edge of the "shoe" that 
slides on the way. 

• The tabs that are welded to the 
shoes make good attachment 
points for wooden blocks used to 
hold the form in place. 

© Make Projects 

Page 50 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 66 

• Close in the edge of the form here. 
Use the widest possible carriage 
width to support the base of the 
cross slide. 

• Maximum cross slide support area 
is necessary because the cross 
slide mounting bolts are closer 
together than they really should be. 

• Every design is a series of trade- 
offs. In this case the trade-off is 
caused by having to surround the 
cross slide bolts with enough 
concrete so that it will not crack if 
the cross slide hold down bolts are 

• A fiber additive should be added to 
the concrete mix and the concrete 
mixed for maximum strength. 

© Make Projects 

Page 51 of 114 

The Multi machine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 67 

© Make Projects Page 52 of 1 1 4 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

• For clarity, the concrete casting is 
shown without the embedded re-bar 
pieces that are welded to the 
shoes. This particular carriage 
design can be dropped over the 
lead screw so that it would be easy 
to replace it with a different or 
specialized (milling, for example) 
carriage. Four threaded rods are 
used to mount the base of the 
cross slide. These must be of very 
good quality steel that is firmly 
anchored in the concrete. Engine 
head studs would be a good choice 
here. They should be cut to the 
proper length and welded to bars 
that will anchor them in the 
concrete below the embedded re- 

• On a small lathe, great care will 
have to be taken to fit the steel 
parts that come from 3 directions! 
This was the only big problem In 
scaling the Yeomans lathe down 

• This "cut out" will not be necessary 
for a long bed lathe that has 
externally-mounted clamps. 

• The inverted "U" shaped cutout is 
used only if an easily-removed 
carriage is desired. 

• Cored holes should be placed so 
that the milling attachment and the 
base of the handwheel mechanism 
can be connected by pieces of all- 

© Make Projects 

Page 53 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 68 

• An overhead view of an externally- 
mounted way clamp. 

© Make Projects 

Page 54 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 69 

• The main lead screw is a piece of 
threaded rod that does not rotate. 
The carriage and the tailstock are 
moved forward by turning nuts that 
move along the screw. The lead 
screw is secured by nuts at the 
foot (end) of the lathe. The carriage 
and tail stock can be the "drop on" 
type that is easily removed and 
replaced. The size of the lead 
screw could be anything between 
18mm and 25mm for this 300mm 
swing version of the lathe. Bigger 
is better. 

• Backlash can be compensated for 
by adding 2 opposed spring 
(Belleville) washers and an extra 
nut. The most common lead screw 
source is the all-thread rods found 
in metal shops and hardware 
stores. Commercial all-thread 
screws with a black finish seem to 
be of a higher quality. Cross slide 
lead screws can also come from 
auto seat adjusters and auto jacks. 

• The quality of the leadscrews is 
vital to lathe accuracy. Replace the 
all-thread type with higher-quality 
screws if possible but the care you 
take in suppressing backlash is 
more important. 

© Make Projects 

Page 55 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 70 

• This carriage mechanism is quite 
simple. Unlike most lathes that 
have complex "aprons" with many 
parts, this one just has 5 simple 
parts that can be built using just a 
drill, hacksaw and file. The 
handwheel can be replaced by a 
bicycle sprocket that later can be 
linked to another sprocket in an 
easier-to-reach location. Or, to get 
the lathe up and running in a hurry 
(so it can make its own parts), just 
make the mounting plate, add a nut 
that can be turned by a wrench to 
move the carriage forward and 
heavy springs to pull it back. 

• The clamp parts, grooved nut and 
handwheel adapter could be easily 
made at this stage. One side of the 
clamps (above) can be shimmed to 
reduce backlash in the carriage 
hand wheel clamp device. The 
coupling nut could have a larger 
grooved hub pressed over It to 
make a larger clamp contact area. 
If a milling attachment is going to 
be added, the base can be made 
longer so that a bolt can go below 
the leadscrew and connect to it to 
the milling adapter. 

© Make Projects 

Page 56 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 71 

only real criticism of the machine 
design concerns the location of the 
handwheel. If this bothers you then 
replace the hand wheel with a bike 
sprocket and chain leading up to 
another sprocket mounted higher 
up and closer to the operator. Make 
a simple cover to keep the chain 
and sprockets free of cuttings. 

Step 72 

• The base plate of a 3-piece cross 
slide. It is made at least 25mm 
more narrow than the part above so 
that there will be clearance for the 
slide clamps. This is not necessary 
on a slide that has inverted clamps. 
The nuts actually fit into counter- 
bored holes and the excess stud 
length is ground off flush with the 
slide that should be thick enough 
(19mm?) to avoid grinding off much 
(if any) of the nuts. 

© Make Projects 

Page 57 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 73 

• An angle-iron alternative to the 
split-pipe shoe. The brass wear 
strips could be eliminated if 

• SPECIAL NOTE: This is not the 
best engineering solution since 
there is great pressure at the way 
contact area. BUT it is easily 
made, cheap and very accurate if 
carefully aligned. The ways can be 
rotated slightly to adjust for any 
excessive wear. 

© Make Projects 

Page 58 of 114 

The Multi machine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 74 

© Make Projects Page 59 of 1 1 4 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

• When grinding an optical flat (or 
other kind of flat), three disks are 
used. Let's call them "A", "B" and 
"C". Put A on B with some fine 
grinding compound. Grind until a 
frosted finish is seen on both 
surfaces. Now do the same with B 
on C. Now repeat with C on A until 
the surfaces have 100% contact. 
Repeat this process until it takes 
little (or no) work to get 100% 
surface contact in all three 
combinations. The surfaces will 
then be very flat. It works on steel 
as well as on glass. 

• How does it work? A on B results 
in a spherical surface, B on C 
results in a less spherical (closer 
to flat) surface, C on A results in 
an even closer to flat surface after 
grinding. Each pass results in 
flatter spheres. If A is concave, B 
is convex and C is concave. When 
A and C are ground to each other, 
they hit the high points first. Now 
either A or C is concave and the 
other is convex. Grinding both 
against B results in the flats being 
averaged. Eventually they are flat 
enough. Gravestones and 
monuments are often VERY flat. 
They make good layout tables! 

• The plate edges are also important 
since the clamps are screwed to 
them. Edges of hot-rolled steel 
plate are not flat and this has to be 
corrected since clamp parts are 
screwed to them. Carefully file the 

© Make Projects 

Page 60 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

edges flat while constantly 
checking with a square. Keep 
flipping plates over and end-for-end 
while checking them side by side 
until you get them filed to identical 
widths, with parallel sides and flat 
edges. Thanks to Dave LeVine for 

Step 75 

• The cross slide lead screw could 
be a piece of threaded rod but parts 
from an old gear puller could work 
well since they usually have a fine 
thread and the screw is hardened. 
Later you could make an extra nut 
with a similar thread and use it with 
cupped washers to eliminate most 
end play. 

© Make Projects 

Page 61 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 76 

• Mounting holes are counter bored 
25mm for the nuts that hold it 

Step 77 

• Like this 

© Make Projects 

Page 62 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 78 

• Use transfer screws to accurately 
align the base plate and the 4 studs 
that are sticking up through the 
concrete carriage. Screw these 
transfer screws part way into nuts 
and screw the nuts onto the ends 
of the studs. Align the base plate 
over the transfer screw pointed 
ends and tap with a hammer. 
Heavily punch the first hole 
position, fit and align the plate and 
mark the remaining holes one by 
one. Deepen these light marks with 
a regular center punch and drill 
with a small pilot drill. 

• Make your own transfer screws by 
epoxying short, sharpened pieces 
cut from an old Allen wrench into 
set screws the same size and 
thread as the carriage studs. 

• If you use an endmill as a counter 
bore tool, do it after each hole is 
bored and before the plate is 
moved, otherwise the hole center 
will be hard to locate. 

© Make Projects 

Page 63 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 79 

• The top slide should be at least 1 .5 
times as long as it is wide in order 
for it not to jam when it is advanced 
under pressure. 

• The tool post should be at least 
400mm square. Another similar 
sized one could be drilled to fit 
boring bars or a drill chuck (maybe 
taken from a broken electric drill?). 

Step 80 


• An easily made slide adjuster. The 
arrow points to a cut in the steel 
bar. The outer part of the bar is 
threaded and as the screw is 
tightened it bends the thinner part 
of the bar in toward the cross slide. 
The brass bar is optional. 

© Make Projects 

Page 64 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 81 

Upside down clamp 

cross slide 

Cross slide base 


• Another way to build machine 
slides is to invert the clamp. This 
lets you build the cross slide 
assembly using just two pieces of 
steel of the same width. This may 
be more economical and in some 
areas might be the only way 
practical. The disadvantage is that 
metal particles from machining 
may get between the clamp and the 
slide. Leather wipers attached to 
the edges of the top pieces of the 
clamp should help with this. Wear 
could be adjusted for by judicious 
filing or adding a thin shim. 

• A common way to build something 
like this is to fit it a little too tight 
and add very thin shims to make 
things move smoothly. The shims 
can be removed as the parts wear 
in and play develops. Another 
difficulty with inverted clamps is 
that an additional "compound" slide 
is made harder to mount because 
of the more narrow mounting 
surface. A temporary, light-duty 
clamp could be made from 
carefully fitted angle iron. 

© Make Projects 

Page 65 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 82 

• Cross slide alignment: Use the dial 
test indicator to measure from the 
end of the spindle to the top and 
the edge of the cross slide is it is 
moved from one end to the other. 
Be certain that the spindle does not 
turn as you do this. 

Step 83 

• An alternative way of aligning the 
cross slide is to use a square. 

© Make Projects 

Page 66 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 84 

Building a "temporary" lathe 

• Building any kind of a low-cost 
machine tool takes a lathe of some 
kind. The aluminum or 
zinc/aluminum alloy castings could 
be turned on a good wood lathe but 
it would be much easier to use your 
concrete lathe bed and carriage as 
a "temporary" lathe. Huge savings 
are possible by casting and turning 
your own bushings and adapters. 

© Make Projects 

Page 67 of 114 

The Multi machine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 85 

© Make Projects Page 68 of 1 1 4 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

• A great many front-wheel-drive and 
four-wheel-drive vehicles (but not 
all), use a complete spindle 
assembly which includes wheel 
bearings, wheel mounting studs, 
and mounting structures. 

• Be aware that some are held 
together by a center bolt; often the 
end of a stub axle which is splined. 
The splines do not matter. The 
mount can go into the concrete (if 
the bolts are put in place first), and 
the faceplate can mount where the 
brake and wheel did. The old stub 
axle can complete the drive 

• While this will not make a hollow 
spindle (one with a through hole for 
long workpieces), it is a fine 
spindle for making the relatively 
short pieces for a good spindle 
capsule and for pulleys. 

• Using cast aluminum pulley blanks, 
you can make drive and reduction 
pulleys for "serpentine" belts 
(multi-groove type K belts are 
common in automobiles) which 
have lower losses and less 
slippage than more common "V" 
belts. The pulleys are simple if you 
can grind a 40-degree tool and the 
belts can be run "inside out" for 
initial machining of the final drive 

• While building a lathe to make a 
lathe is not the only way to make a 
good lathe, it is often beneficial and 

© Make Projects 

Page 69 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

the less-desirable lathe can still be 
used to do maintenance when the 
better lathe is finished. While it 
lacks a lot of utility (like the ability 
to turn long workpieces), it is much 
better than no lathe. 

• If the spindle used a disk brake, 
reversing the disk makes a good 
faceplate and, if the "hat" is deep 
enough, a cup chuck. 

Step 86 

This is typical of a drum brake 
setup used on many vehicles. The 
drum will come off the spindle 
without too much trouble in many 
cases. Reverse the drum, add 
screws (for jaws) and a simple 3- 
or 4-jaw "cup chuck" can be made. 
As with the prior spindle design, 
while it is far from perfect it will 
work to make parts and train 

Machining pressure plates, brake 
rotors, etc. does not need a hollow 

© Make Projects 

Page 70 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 87 

The main spindle and 
cartridge assembly 

• Many kinds of lathe spindles can 
be used but for our purposes they 
should all be enclosed in an outer 
pipe "cartridge" that could be 
embedded in concrete after it is 

Step 88 

• The outer part of the spindle 
cartridge can be made from a piece 
of pipe (like the outer part of a 
hydraulic cylinder), bushings you 
cast yourself out of piston metal, a 
thrust device to keep the spindle 
from moving back and forth and a 
hollow or solid spindle (like the 
piston rod of a hydraulic cylinder). 
The whole assembly is first aligned 
in the headstock and then 
(naturally) locked in place by 
pouring in non-shrinking grout. 

© Make Projects 

Page 71 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 89 

• The outer tube protects the spindle 
and bushings from the concrete. If 
the outer tube is large enough, the 
bushings can later be replaced with 
ball or roller bearing adapters so 
that a higher speed spindle can 
replace the initial slower speed 
bushing type spindle. Adjusters are 
shown here but the front adjuster 
could be replaced with a steel 
washer between the bushing and 
the chuck backplate, and the rear 
adjuster replaced with a simple 
steel collar that could be moved in 
order to eliminate end play. 

Step 90 

• Spindle lubrication: On the main 
and on the thread follower spindle 
bushings, cut an "O" ring groove 
here. Drill and tap the outer body of 
the cartridges for a 90-degree 
fitting for an oil line and grout the 
oil line in place with the spindle. 

© Make Projects 

Page 72 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 91 

• Bushings can be cast in almost 
every size! 

Step 92 

• The "universal" shape for for every 
casting used on the lathe. It can be 
used for spindle bushings, ball or 
roller bearing housings, adjusters 
and a chuck back plate. It is very 
simple and is easily cast in the 
most primitive conditions. 

© Make Projects 

Page 73 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 93 

• The chuck back plate (mount) is 
seemingly simple, but if you have 
to buy one it could cost more than 
the lathe itself! If you make your 
own, the two most common 
choices may be either a piece of 
cast iron that could be turned down 
to size or to make one from an 
aluminum casting. A cast aluminum 
back plate should have two clamp 
bolts and nuts (not tapped) on each 
side and an added steel safety 
collar. The hub will have to have a 
large enough diameter so that there 
will be clearance for the nuts. 

© Make Projects 

Page 74 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 94 

• The front adjuster is not really 
needed and future drawings will not 
show it since the chuck should be 
as close to the headstock as 

• **BUT**This type of adjustment 
device is extremely useful for 
many things. It can be used to 
adjust end play and also be used to 
retain pulleys and milling cutters 
without having to cut a thread on 
the spindle (difficult). It can also be 
used to gently force off parts that 
are stuck on a shaft. 

• Keep this wonderful device in your 
mental tool box! 

Step 95 

• Use an old flywheel as a 
combination faceplate and chuck. 

• A slow-speed lathe drive could be a 
shaft with a starter pinion gear and 
the flywheel ring gear. 

© Make Projects 

Page 75 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 96 

• A simple clamp like this can be 
used on the flywheel/faceplate. 

Step 97 



1 r 


• Or this. 

© Make Projects 

Page 76 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 98 

• A ring or "bell" chuck could be 
made like this simple 150-year-old 
design. The problem with this kind 
of chuck is that it is more difficult 
to adjust. Adjustment is easier if 
there is a center in the end of base 
of the chuck and a workpiece is 
held between it and the tailstock 
center before the chuck bolts are 

Step 99 

A modern light duty design for 
delicate work. Bell and ring chucks 
may be more difficult to use but it 
is hard to beat the price of one you 
make yourself. 

© Make Projects 

Page 77 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 100 

• A scrapped hydraulic cylinder 
could provide both the spindle and 
the outer part pf the spindle 

• The piston rod should be at least 
37mm (50 to 100mm is much 
better) in diameter. It should be at 
least 200mm longer than the 
headstock is long. 

© Make Projects 

Page 78 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 101 

• An original Multimachine spindle 
design that is heavy-duty and very 
accurate. You may recognize it as 
the common bicycle front axle 
type. Spindle size could be based 
around the sizes of inexpensive 
automotive tapered roller bearings. 

• This type of spindle will require 
more machine work but, if this 
spacer was bored on the ends to 
accept the outer part of the roller 
bearings and then used as the 
outer part of the bushing-type 
spindle cartridge, the simple 
bushing-type spindle could be 
made to "bootstrap" this more 
complex, high-speed spindle at 
very low cost. 

• A bushing-type spindle should be 
replaced by a ball or roller type if 
the lathe is to get much use as a 
milling machine since milling 
speeds are higher than normal 
(home-made) lathe spindle speeds. 

© Make Projects 

Page 79 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 102 

• If the ends of the outer spindle tube 
were bored to the size of an 
available automotive (cheap) 
tapered roller bearing, a simple 
bushing could be used at first and a 
higher speed roller bearing spindle 
used later. Whoever bores these 
ends should have a sample bearing 
to use to check for a proper fit. 

Step 103 

Spindle alignment 

• A great spindle alignment video : 

© Make Projects 

Page 80 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 104 

• An accurate home-built chuck. 
Plans here. 

Step 105 


N> — "*C I 
o/ oS S\ 

3 1 V\ 1 1 ^ 1 1 %^% %/J 

• Temporarily, the adjuster could be 
replaced by the sprocket hub if a 
steel washer was used between 

© Make Projects 

Page 81 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 106 

1 ■ 

• Spindle alignment. Slide the spindle 
so at least 8" sticks out the front of 
the headstock, then use a dial test 
indicator to measure to the spindle 
to both sides and the center of the 
carriage as the carriage is moved 
forward and backward. After the 
spindle has been accurately 
aligned, pour in the grout to lock it 
in place. This makes the spindle 
parallel to the ways, which is all- 

© Make Projects 

Page 82 of 114 

The Multi machine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 107 

© Make Projects Page 83 of 1 1 4 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

• The headstock, spindle and 
flywheel/faceplate assembly can be 
as simple as an inverted engine 
block, crank and flywheel that has 
had the main bearing inserts 
carefully drilled and the main 
bearing caps drilled and tapped for 
grease fittings. A lathe with a 
600mm to 900mm (or larger) swing 
could be easily made this way. 
Just remember that the largest 
Yeomans shell-making lathe 
weighed 9000 Kg, so scale 

• An engine block headstock should 
probably kept at under 200 rpm 
since the bearing inserts were 
meant to be used with a 
pressurized oil system. Grease 
every few hours at first until you 
make sure that nothing overheats. 

• A very accurate headstock can be 
made this way since the main 
bearing inserts can be shimmed so 
that there is very little clearance 
between the bearing insert and the 
crankshaft/spindle. This tight fit is 
another reason to use low 
crankshaft speeds only. 

• Take great care when you drill the 
bearing insert grease hole since 
the insert is easily bent or 
scratched, carefully remove any 
burrs caused by drilling. Clean 
everything carefully; a tiny piece of 
debris will cause big problems. 

• Needless to say, the shims will 

© Make Projects 

Page 84 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

have to have matching grease 

To get these low spindle speeds, a 
very large (wooden?) pulley will 
have to be attached to the nose of 
the crankshaft 

Step 108 

Giant machines 

• A really big lathe may be needed 
on rare occasions. Our lathe can 
built in a size that could have a 
150mm or larger spindle bore so 
that the workpiece could fit inside 
the spindle bore and be clamped by 
chucks at both ends of the 

• This sounds far-fetched but could 
be better than flying a big piece of 
oil-field machinery halfway around 
the world to have it repaired. 

© Make Projects 

Page 85 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 109 

• The thread follower chuck rotates 
at the spindle speed and is driven 
by bicycle sprockets and chain. An 
idler should be added so that the 
chain can be adjusted or removed 
when not needed. There is a limit to 
bicycle chain speeds so use a 
motorcycle chain for speeds much 
over 70 RPM (which is 3 times the 
speed you should start threading 
with anyway). 

• To cut a thread, a sample piece of 
threaded rod is held by the follower 
chuck and is manually clamped in 
the wooden or plastic block clamp 
that is attached to the carriage. 
This pulls the carriage at the proper 
speed for cutting a duplicate of the 
sample thread. 

• The follower spindle cartridge is 
first aligned and then grouted into 
the headstock. 

• Drill and tap the outer tube for an 
oil line fitting and grout the oil line 
in place. 

© Make Projects 

Page 86 of 114 

The Multi machine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 110 

© Make Projects Page 87 of 1 1 4 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

• The thread that is cut could be 
unusually accurate because the 
wooden (or plastic) block should 
average out imperfections in the 
sampled thread. Special note: 
Threading on a lathe always 
requires practice even if you use 
the best equipment. Threading 
usually takes multiple passes with 
the threading tool. 

• You won't find a device like this 
described anywhere else but I have 
built and used one on the original 
Multimachine. The follower spindle 
should have an oil line run to it as 
was described for the main spindle. 
Half-inch water pipe is about 5/8" 
ID so this, 2 bushings and a piece 
of 12mm rod either threaded or 
epoxied into a discarded drill chuck 

• For a large lathe, the length of the 
clamp should be increased and 
larger diameter sample screws 

• Our device will require extra 
practice to learn how to "pick up" 
the existing thread on subsequent 
passes but this should not be too 
difficult because the wooden clamp 
can be "eased on" instead of 
suddenly engaged. 

• Compressed air "help" could also 
be added to a large lathe. An air 
cylinder could be used to close the 
clamp on the thread and carefully 
regulated air pressure supplied to 
an air cylinder used to add a little 

© Make Projects 

Page 88 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

push to the other side of the 

The picture shows the need for 
careful modeling before concrete 
is poured. The clamping device 
location can be adjusted by 
simple changes in the shape of 
the wooden block but come as 
close as you can to good initial 

Step 111 

The original thread follower as 
installed on the Multimachine. 

© Make Projects 

Page 89 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 112 

• Our thread follower design may 
seem strange to some but it allows 
us to cut threads without needing a 
stack of change gears like this! 

Step 113 

• The tailstock has a frame that is 
exactly like the carriage. Except for 
the difference in shape, 
construction is similar. 

© Make Projects 

Page 90 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 114 

• A long nut or handwheel should be 
added here. 

Step 115 

• An all-thread coupling nut can be 
cut in this way and then be pressed 
slightly closed in order to reduce 
backlash to a minimum. This is 
important because play in screw 
threads causes many accuracy 

• An alternative to this is using an 
extra nut and spring (bellville) 
washers as shown on the carriage 
handwheel drawing. 

© Make Projects 

Page 91 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 116 

• If you use a Morse Taper socket, a 
slot should be cast into the 
tailstock concrete so that a wedge 
can be used to knock loose a 
Morse Taper tool. 

• Naturally, the slots should 
line up! 

• Something should be welded to the 
back of the MT socket or grooves 
cut into it so it will not turn or pull 
loose from the grout. 


Step 117 

• Align the socket before grouting by 
using a Morse Taper drill 
accurately held in the headstock 

© Make Projects 

Page 92 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 118 

Powering the 

• Keep the lathe at low speeds for 
safety (highly recommended ) if 
there is any chance poorly trained 
workers will be around it. Long 
sleeves or long hair and a fast 
turning chuck can be a fatal 

• Low speeds mean that you can use 
anything from treadle power (next 
step) on up. 

Step 119 

even motion, iuch as no hand feed can rival. Among Lathe 
novelties introduced by tbe Britannia. Company, of CofctatteFn 
two are well worthy of notice, and they way bo taken kft 
extremee- of power — viz., their N't*. 13 and 18 : the first a 
email SCtflw -cutting Lathe of 3in. centre only, with 2ft. G£m 
or 3ft. bedj and the otter & tiwbLe-geared Lathe. specially 
made for tha Admiralty for use on Bhipbwml*-*a Lathe with 
giip bed. to ■■ ■■'■■■: Lug 24in , and with power enough, under treadle 

fui. a 1, -In kb li Gump Lathe, 

action alone, to tale a. Jin. out off a Sin. er 3in. bar. It 
would be hard to find a tool of such power more compact, 
better designed, or better made ; and the price — £36 for one 
of 5ia. centre— Lb m&rvellcnaly low. That it is possible to 
torn a pump-cover, or similar article, ■24i.ii, diameter, by fout 
power is. at first eight, incredible; but the treble g&w nml- 
tipliea enormously the power applied* This Lsithe is illus- 

• You will have to click to enlarge the 
picture but it is well worth careful 
study because it shows the power 
that can come by gearing a lathe to 
turn very slowly. 

• We can easily achieve slow 
speeds on our lathe by using a 
flywheel as a chuck backplate and 
driving it with a starter motor pinion 
gear mounted on a shaft and pillow 

© Make Projects 

Page 93 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 120 

• A device like this will be especially 
useful if the ways are as wide as 
possible since the vertical slide fits 
between them. 

Step 121 

• 2 long bolts should be used to 
connect the base of the milling 
adapter with the handwheel base 

• The bottom of the adapter should 
be greased and then grouted to the 
carriage so that it can be refitted in 
the same place after it is removed. 

© Make Projects 

Page 94 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 122 

• Rear view that shows attachment 

Step 123 

• A J.V. Romig milling cross slide 
design. We mount it vertically 
instead of horizontally . 

• Original plans for this design are in 
bench-mill.pdf found here . 

© Make Projects 

Page 95 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 124 

• The sizes of the steel bar and the 
distance between the shoes will 
determine actual dimensions of the 
cross slide parts. 

• The cross slide handle position 
probably should be reversed. 

Step 125 

• The slide base is necessarily a bit 
narrow since it has to fit between 
the shoes. The slide clamps should 
be the adjustable type (shown 
some steps above) so that the 
assembly can be kept tight. 

© Make Projects 

Page 96 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 126 

What if you could cut training time 
from years to just a few weeks? 

• Machining a tough piece of steel to 
an exact size and finish takes great 
skill. It is much easier to learn how 
to machine roughly and slightly 
over size and then slowly grind to a 
proper fit and finish. This is not 
commonly done because grinding 
grit causes excessive lathe wear. 
No problem with ours since our 
ways can be turned to unworn 

© Make Projects 

Page 97 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 127 

In a rush to build one? 

• Delete the tailstock for now but 
make a bigger tool post that can 
hold a large drill chuck. Use quick- 
setting concrete. Use no castings 
for bushings; buy standard sizes 
instead. Use just store-bought 
bushings and steel. 

• Make the spindle and ways from 
accurate DOM tubing. Use angle 
iron for carriage shoes. Don't use 
brass wear strips so the shoes can 
be lapped (using valve-grinding 
compound) to the ways. 

• Use a flywheel and hub that is cut 
from the end of a crankshaft and 
then pressed and brazed into the 
end of the hollow spindle. A hole 
can then be bored through the 
crankshaft stub. 

• Materials will cost a little more but 
all could be easily bought or 
ordered online. 

© Make Projects 

Page 98 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 128 

This is just my idea 

• It is extremely difficult for many 
workers to make an accurate, 
complex workpiece if it has to be 
constantly moved between different 
kinds of machine tools. 

• The cost of these tools, chucks, 
vises and adapters can be MANY 
times the cost of the basic lathe. 

• Why not make it possible to do 
most or all the work on the basic 
lathe without having to move the 

Step 129 

• You saw this being made earlier. 

© Make Projects 

Page 99 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 130 









amd cutter *n*ona rrwwro 






i-(ihuk:i *m-|jU» KFTT MCSflP 


Taper spindle 


• Our starting point is this $10,000 
lathe accessory that was once 
used by the U.S. Army. It could be 
used to mill, slot, drill and grind 
parts mounted on the lathe chuck. 
A tool like this would let us make a 
part that would be similar to our 
demo piece. It would be done by 
reversing the part in the chuck just 
one time. Our problem was to 
make a similar device that would 
also be able to tilt up and down 
while costing 99% less. 

• Learn about the Versa-Mil here. 

Step 131 

I can't draw well enough to draw a 
complete powered auxiliary spindle 
(help wanted!) so I will show it in 
parts. The front end of the simple 
body casting is shown. The body 
could be cast from simple piston 
metal or a Zamac zinc/aluminum 
alloy. Extra castings should be 
made so that spindles for special 
work could be easily constructed. 

© Make Projects 

Page 100 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 132 

• The back end. A bronze bushing 
should be inserted in the end and a 
collar added to the shaft to keep 
everything together. 

Step 133 

• The easiest bit holder is our old 
friend, the Morse Taper socket. 
The rear should be annealed so 
that it can be drilled for the shaft 
used to drive it. The housing should 
have a matching slot so that a 
wedge can be used to knock the 
cutting tool or drill chuck loose. 

© Make Projects 

Page 101 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 134 

• Die, Dremel or 100mm angle 
grinders could also be used. 

Step 135 

• The mount for the spindle that 
allows it to be moved in and out, 
rotated and tilted up and down. 

• Sorry about the drawing quality. 

© Make Projects 

Page 102 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 136 

• Another view. 

• Note that the vertical rails could be 
extended and a crossbar, lead 
screw and handwheel added to the 
top. If two guide rails were added to 
the inner side of the round disk, the 
bit could be fixed at a 90-degree 
angle while it is raised and lowered. 

Step 137 

• Top view. 

• These are not Tyler Disney 
drawings obviously! They are just 
the best I can do at the moment. 

© Make Projects 

Page 103 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 138 





JV\ \ r^ 

T /\ / / 

• Idea for an added vertical adjuster. 
The collar should have set screws 
(with brass tips) so that the angle 
of the cutting device can be 
maintained while it is raised and 

• This device could be a Make 
project all by itself. 

Step 139 

X s 











• Use circular protractors to set the 
angles (including the locked main 

© Make Projects 

Page 104 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 140 

• A rotary table would normally be 
used to very slowly rotate the 
spindle while an arc was being cut 
on our complex project. A very 
expensive way of doing things! 

Step 141 


socket head cap screw— —__ ^rrrvn-rr^^^ 

^^^^^^^^^ / take iprjidle A 1 

A device for turning the \ \ / / 

spindle while milling an \. / 

arc ^*-- — ^ 

• A much cheaper alternative. Let the 
weight of the handle slowly rotate 
the spindle and workpiece while 
milling. Adjust the weight to mill at 
the proper feed rate. 

• The workpiece needs to be clearly 
marked first. 

© Make Projects 

Page 105 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 142 

Powering the aux. 

• The most difficult problem since 
the needed, small 1/2 hp. variable- 
speed motor could be expensive. A 
carefully supported electric drill 
motor could be used but cheap air 
drills would be lighter and take less 

• High air consumption will be a 
problem unless a BIG air storage 
tank is used. Consider using an old 
propane storage tank if you can't 
find anything better. Be very 
careful if you do this and don't weld 
on the tank! 

• For a proper job, buy an eBay 
variable-frequency three-phase 
converter and junked three-phase 
motors. Switch the converter 
between the main drive and the 
auxiliary spindle. 

© Make Projects 

Page 106 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 143 

But wait, 
there's more! 

• Dimensioned plans; 

• Chucks and clamping devices; 

• Cutting tools and fluids; 

• And more are here. 

Step 144 

• STILL MORE! 3 more of my open 
source tools. 

© Make Projects 

Page 107 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 145 

• The Multimachine is a great choice 
for a machine that can do virtually 
all machining operations. Easily 
transportable since it is easy to 
disassemble and then reassemble 
without losing alignment. 

• The "store bought" cross feed table 
should be replaced with one made 
from bolted steel plate (like the one 
on the concrete lathe) that will cost 
much less and actually be more 

• The overarm swings down to 
support the end of a horizontal 
milling arbor. Horizontal milling 
may seem obsolete but cutters are 
cheap on eBay or can be made 
more easily than end mills. 

• Disadvantages of the machine are: 
the short lathe bed (even though 
almost lathe work is done on 
workpieces less than 150mm long) 
and the cost and availability in the 
developing world of the 200 to 
300mm wide steel plate that is 
used to make one block slide 
easily and accurately against the 


© Make Projects 

Page 108 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 146 

• All farmers, carpenters and 

mechanics need a drill. This is our 
version of a 130-year-old design 
that can drill the hardest steel 
since it drills at high pressure and 
slow speed so heat does not 
damage the drill bit. 

Step 147 

• Avery old commercial model. 

• Sorry, don't know the source of the 
picture so I can't give credit for 
some hard work. 

• More here. 

© Make Projects 

Page 109 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 148 

• My Genny, a multiperson treadle- 
powered alternator that can be 
used for village lighting, cell phone 
charging or mechanical power to 
drive many kinds of machines (like 

© Make Projects 

Page 110 of 114 

The Multi machine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 149 

© Make Projects Page 111 of 1 14 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

• The big Genny secret! The piston 
and connecting rod come out the 
bottom of the engine block so that 
it can be the major part of an 
almost unbreakable multi-person 
treadle drive. A vehicle alternator 
requires much more power than 
one person can provide. 


• Using 2 pistons and rods may be 
stronger but they are hard to set up 
and keep in exactly the same 
plane. If they are not perfectly 
parallel most pedaling effort is 

• The belt will try to slip on the small 
pulley. Use an auto belt idler to get 
the best "wrap" around it. 

• The connecting rod can be 
extended by cutting it and welding 
a pipe spacer between the 2 

• Threading the top of the piston for 
hold-down bolts is not durable. I 
would use "J" bolts or 4 external 
bolts through drilled steel bars on 
the top and bottom for additional 
support. Using both methods 
together should be considered for a 
low maintenance generator. 

• The treadle board and frame could 
be made from pallet wood. 

• Drill the main and rod bearing caps 
for grease fittings and keep well 

© Make Projects 

Page 112 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 150 

• An iron pulley is great for a "proof 
of concept" project but is much too 
expensive for use by people would 
really need such a generator. 

• A practical pulley would probably 
be built from wood. 

Step 151 

Part of the block gets in 
the way? 

• Just cut it off by using a narrow, 
sharp chisel to make cuts (looking 
like sewing stitches) along the line 
you want broken off then hit it with 
a big hammer and chisel. 

© Make Projects 

Page 113 of 114 

The Multimachine $150, 12" Swing, Metal Lathe/Mill/Drill 

Step 152 

• Thanks for getting this far! 

Access to a machine shop for a few simple jobs, a $68 machinist level and quick-setting 
concrete would make construction much faster. 

This document was last generated on 2013-02-12 05:18:49 PM. 

© Make Projects 

Page 114 of 114